2012 Movie Blitz: Part 4

July 31, 2013 in Movie Reviews, Reviews by pacejmiller

And we’re back to my 2012 movie blitz. And there’s a distinct horror flavour with this latest entry of four.

The Devil Inside (2012)

devil_inside

If only the movie was as good as this poster

Another possession film, this time done in the form of a faux documentary.

A woman gets possessed and kills three clergy in an exorcism gone wrong, gets off on an insanity plea and is sent to a mental institution in Italy. Years later, her daughter is filming a documentary about exorcisms, and decides to head off to Rome to attend a class. There she meets a couple of other students and together they go to exorcisms and film everything. Typical exorcism stuff happens. The end.

To be fair, The Devil Inside started off really well and almost felt like a genuine documentary. It maintained my interest for a little while longer but then I just couldn’t stay interested in the film between the scary bits. It has less fillers than the film I am reviewing below this one, but by the end I didn’t really care any more what the heck was happening or why.

The scares, for the most part, were effective despite re-using tactics we’ve seen in such films a hundred times before. Crazy demon voices, thrashing around with superhuman strength, gross bodily functions and ugly faces I’m used to by now, but bodies bending over backward unnaturally still seem to get me every time. But the problem with these documentary/found-footage movies  continues to be the need for a cameraman at all times, even when it made no sense why anyone would keep filming under the circumstances.

Ultimately, I think The Devil Inside probably belongs at the lower end of the exorcism movie spectrum. It has some decent moments but there is nothing fresh or creative about it apart from the documentary angle. And the ending — my goodness, the ending — is probably the worst of any movie I’ve seen in years.

2.25 stars out of 5

Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)

paranormal_activity_four

Is it just me or do all PA posters look the same?

They’ve made a fourth one of these already? Maybe it’s because morons like me keep watching them. I didn’t like the original Paranormal Activity and I hated the two sequels to varying degrees. But I keep watching and I keep complaining anyway.

Paranormal Activity 4 is about as bad as the other ones, but to my surprise, not much worse, though some might argue that is impossible. It follows the events of the second film, I think. That big-boobed woman from the first one kills the couple from the second film, abducts their son, and moves across the street from the new protagonists. The kid is messed up (of course he would be) and starts hanging out with the new family. Weird stuff happens and the daughter (and her “boyfriend”) decide, naturally, to capture it all on film.

It’s more of the same formulaic crap — and it really is crap. Atrocious, unbearable, utter crap. Boring filler filler filler, fake scare, boring filler filler filler, fake scare, rinse and repeat until moronic climax where you can barely tell what is happening but everyone screams and dies. The most frightening thing about the whole movie is that at 99 minutes it feels way too long.

Paranormal Activity 5 is coming out early next year. Yikes.

1 star out of 5

The Raven (2012)

TheRaven

John Cusack has wings

One of these days I will get around to reading the entire collection of works by Edgar Allan Poe. I even downloaded an app with all them in one place. But for now, I’ll just have to keep watching movies like The Raven, which takes its name from one of Poe’s most popular poems, even though the story has little to do with it.

The Raven is a fictionalized account of the last days of Poe, who died at the age of just 40 (in 1849). If the film’s depiction of him is to be believed, then he is a brilliant but egotistical writer with no money and a love for alcohol — and he looks exactly like John Cusack.

Anyway, a serial killer is on the loose and he or she appears to be a massive fan of Poe because the murders are being carried out just the way Poe wrote in his short stories. But the killer isn’t just a fan, he/she also wants to taunt Poe and play a game of cat and mouse with him. To entice Poe to cooperate, the killer kidnaps his one true love, played by Alice Eve, and Poe is forced to join forces with an inspector played by Luke Evans to capture the killer before time runs out.

OK, so The Raven has a fairly interesting premise, even if it does feel vaguely familiar. The direction of Aussie James McTeigue (who did Ninja Assassin and V for Vendetta) infuses the film with that dark, dreary visual flair, and thanks to Poe’s macabre works, there are some gruesome sequences that were surprisingly violent and graphic. And it does keep you guessing as to who the killer is.

However, the film’s tricks start to get weary after a while and started making me wonder whether it was even necessary to make the film about Poe, as opposed to any other fiction writer. Apart from an initial murder or two, were there even any other references to Poe’s works? And in any case, there was barely a climax and ending was dreadful, leaving an aftertaste of dissatisfaction by the time the credits started to roll.

2.75 stars out of 5

The Apparition (2012)

The-Apparition-Poster

Should be: Once you watch this trash, you’ll want to die

There are a few films like The Apparition every year: a generic horror movie with a generic name that would get zero attention if it didn’t star an up-and-coming newcomer (or two). And as almost always, the film is panned, and rightfully so.

This time, the “newcomer” is Twilight’s Ashley Greene, and she is joined by Sebastian Stan (Gossip Girl, Captain America) and Draco Malfoy (aka Tom Felton). To be honest, I had to look up Wikipedia for a refresher on the plot, and apparently it’s about a bunch of college students who try to recreate a 1973 experiment where people stared at a drawing of a deceased man to try and summon his spirit. After the experiment a malevolent spirit starts following one of the students (Stan) around. The ghost does scary things to mess with him and his girlfriend (Greene) for a while before it eventually gets really nasty — and deadly!

You know The Apparition is bad. I got bored just from writing that synopsis. There is not an ounce of originality in the entire film, which borrows upon the worst of worst cliches in a futile attempt to elicit some cheap scares — but fails miserably. It’s not even in the “so bad it’s laughable” category.

Sure, you get to see Ashley Greene with long hair and in tight, skimpy outfits, but even that is not enough reason to subject yourself to this kind of torture for 82 very very long minutes.

1 star out of 5